Our students have a variety of reasons for wanting to learn Chinese: to improve employment opportunities, to aid travel, or purely for the pleasure of learning its beautiful script. As the mother tongue of a fifth of the global population - which just happens to be spoken in the world’s fastest-growing economy - Chinese has become an increasingly valuable language on the world stage. Candidates with even minimal proficiency are highly sought-after, especially in industries like business, science, and engineering. On a personal level, knowledge of Chinese enables you to communicate with the millions of people living in the Americas, Australia, the UK, and Europe who make up the global Chinese diaspora, as well as those living in mainland China. Whatever your reason for wanting to study the language, we have schools in key Chinese cities, allowing you to experience authentic local society and develop your language skills through an exciting immersive adventure.
What most people know as ‘Chinese’ is often referred to as Pǔtōnghuà, or Modern Standard Mandarin. This is a Beijing-based form of the country’s largest dialect by number of native speakers: Mandarin. China is in fact home to hundreds of regional dialects, and most are not mutually intelligible. To overcome this, a standard form was developed by government officials in the 12th century. This standard served as a lingua franca between the peoples of China, who generally spoke some form of local Chinese as their first language. Mandarin is still a lingua franca today, and is the unifying factor amongst the many ethnic groups and regional communities who call China home. It is the language of education, media, government administration, and literature in modern China. While you may cover aspects of local forms during your lessons, you’ll learn Standard Mandarin on our Chinese courses, whether you study in Beijing or Shanghai.
Another key reason our students want to learn Chinese is to find out more about China’s fascinating and ancient culture. As one of the oldest civilisations in the world, China was and still is hugely influential, not just in Eastern Asia where this influence is felt strongest, but around the world. China is famed for its traditional handicrafts, its art and music, its cuisine, its architecture, its traditional clothing, its tea culture, its beautiful and calming gardens, its schools of philosophy, and its spirituality. It’s also renowned for the huge number of key scientific developments and inventions it pioneered, many of which came centuries or even millennia before Western equivalents were discovered. The Four Great Inventions, as they are known - the compass, gunpowder, paper-making, and printing - all originated from China and all have had profound effects on modern human society.
When you attend one of our Chinese courses, regardless of where you study, you’ll get the chance to learn more about Chinese culture, both in your lessons and as part of the social activity programme offered after class. You’ll discover the history of this interesting and beautiful country, from the first dynasty formed over 4,000 years ago right up to modern fads like bubble tea and WeChat. You’ll learn about folklore characters such as the Yellow Emperor and the Eight Immortals, and about the importance of celebrations like February’s Lantern Festival and June’s Dragon Boat Festival. You’ll be able to sample excellent local delicacies in one of China’s many street food markets, experience a famous Beijing Opera, or visit strange but culturally important sites like Shanghai’s marriage market. These activities will help you gain a deeper understanding of the multi-faceted nature of Chinese society which will, in turn, aid your language studies and help you communicate like a local.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for further details of our language schools and the packages available.